The very serious COVID symptom you don’t know about

By now, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that you or someone you know has been directly impacted by COVID-19.

Even with data sets derived from a global case count nearing 88 million, virologists are unable to anticipate all of the symptoms associated with the disease.

The instructive symptoms (fever, labored breathing, and dry cough) are present in the vast majority of clinically recognizable manifestations of coronavirus infection. However, an unfortunate minority experiences a wide range of uncharacteristic effects alongside them.

Ocular traumaor trauma related to sight and vision, has been documented in more and more COVID patient samples.

Now, new research published in the journal, PLOS One has revealed that eye discomfort may be an early indicator of coronavirus infection in a small subset of carriers; affecting more than 11% of positive cases.

“Several studies have suggested that COVID-19 can give rise to ocular symptoms but the causal relationship with the virus is uncertain and this prompted researchers from the Advanced Eye Centre, Department of Ophthalmology, Chandigarh, India, to perform a systemic review and meta-analysis of the eye problems documented in patients with COVID-19,” researchers from Hospital Healthcare Europe write.

“An extensive search of the literature identified 222 citations although, after removal of duplicates and screening of abstracts, only 16 articles met the inclusion criteria. The analysis revealed that overall, 11.6% of those with COVID-19 experienced an ocular problem.”

Below are the ocular symptoms reported among the study group in order of frequency: Eye Pain (31%), Watering (15.3%), Dryness (13.3%), Follicular conjunctivitis (7%),  Conjunctival chemosis (4.4%).

“The most common reported ocular presentations of COVID-19 included ocular pain, redness, discharge, and follicular conjunctivitis. A small proportion of patients had viral RNA in their conjunctival/tear samples. The available studies show significant publication bias and heterogeneity. Prospective studies with methodical collection and data reporting are needed for evaluation of ocular involvement in COVID-19,” the authors concluded.

The most viable route for coronavirus transmission is through the nose and mouth. The conjunctiva, which is the clear tissue that protects the white of the eye inside of the eyelid, can become infected with pathogens upon direct exposure to them.

In a recent report that analyzed essential workers caring for COVID patients, 8% of the participants contracted the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)after not wearing protective eye gear. Those that did employ ocular protective gear evidenced an infection rate of 1%.

“If there are droplets that an infected individual is producing by coughing or sneezing or even speaking, then the front of the eyes are directly exposed, just like the nasal passages are exposed. In addition, people rub and touch their eyes a lot,” explains, Elia Duh, MD, a researcher, and professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“The conjunctiva, “can be infected by other viruses, such as adenoviruses associated with the common cold and the herpes simplex virus,”

Dr.Duh recently contributed to a study that sought to determine if the eye’s surface cells contained any biological components that facilitate coronavirus infection.

“Together, these results indicate that ocular surface cells including conjunctiva are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2, and could therefore serve as a portal of entry as well as a reservoir for person-to-person transmission of this virus. This highlights the importance of safety practices including face masks and ocular contact precautions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease,” Dr. Duh and his team determined.

As recently covered by Ladders, if you live in a region disproportionately affected by coronavirus cases, consider wearing goggles (in addition to a double layer cotton mask) during high-risk scenarios.

“Snow goggles can theoretically protect you because coronavirus can enter through the mucous membranes of the eyes. If someone coughs or sneezes and it comes into contact with your eyes, this could lead to COVID. If someone touches a surface that has coronavirus and then touches their eyes, this could potentially cause infection of the membranes of the eye, “Abisola Olulade, MD wrote in a recent release.